A fish out of water

Seems everyone is doing it.  I don’t like to stand out of the crowd, so I might as well do it too.  It’s time to reflect, to review, to sum up and write down what I actually got out of the inaugural Australian Bloggers Conference.

  1. Be yourself, be authentic – in your blogging, in your Twittering, in all your social networking online.  Readers can pick a fake, a facade and will not return.  Being yourself means that you will connect with people who “get” you, with whom you share interests and values.  More importantly, readers who will keep coming back and eventually become your community.
  2. In order to be authentic you need to know who you are and what you stand for.  This really gave me food for thought.  I have revisited this so many times and still my definition of who I am keeps changing.  And I guess it will keep doing that because I, just like everyone else, will keep growing.  My best definition of what I stand for is now the description of my blog.  You can see it above.
  3. All blogging “rules” are there to be broken.  You need to do what works best for your blog, for your community and for your purpose in blogging.
  4. It is possible to be as much in awe of your favourite bloggers as of your favourite movie stars.  Even though I managed to say hello to a few of them, I could not hold a proper conversation.  Perhaps I needed  more wine…
  5. I felt like a fish out of water for most of the time.  Apart from the social anxiety and awkwardness I already mentioned, I knew that I was only a little fish in a very big  pond.  Most people didn’t know who I was.  But a few did!
  6. Most Mumy Bloggers are also Wife Bloggers, which was another reason I felt like a fish out of water.  If not talking about their kids, they talk about their husbands.  And a lot are free to blog because of the support from their husbands.  I felt like I had very little in common with most people I spoke with.
  7. It was so refreshing to be in a room full of people, mostly women, who get what you’re talking about!  I may not have had much in common with them, not that I talked to everybody, but we’re all bloggers and we get blogging.  Noone in my immediate circle of family and friends really understands it, so it was liberating to talk about it without having to explain the basics.
  8. Bloggers are very generous.  With their time, expertise, advice.  And hugs!
  9. Twitter is addictive when you know the people tweeting IRL.  And it provides an extra dimension to a conference, as an undercurrent of commentary on the hotness of certain panelists sweeps through the room.  Someone said that it’s like passing notes in class and not getting caught!
  10. Bloggers get free stuff!  Our goodie bags were amazing!  Being used to coming back from a conference with some dodgy pens, fridge magnets and a stress ball, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality and quantity of gifts in our swag bags.
  11. I find it extremely difficult to be with people for extended periods of time.  From the time I left my car at the airport car park to the time I got back inside it – about 50 hours later – I was with people.  By the time I got home, I was physically ill.  I felt as if I had the flu.  I ached all over. My head was buzzing.  I was absolutely exhausted – total sensory overload!
  12. I feel safer travelling with my kids.  Somehow, when I’m with them, even when they’re cranky, I feel OK, no matter where I am.  They’re my security blanket.

Did you go to AusBlogCon2011?  What was the best thing you got out of it?